A little over two years ago, upstart FPGA maker Achronix Semiconductor scored a big win over its rivals, Altera and Xilinx: it talked Intel into letting it use its cutting-edge chip factories to etch field-programmable gate array (FPGA) chips using Chipzilla's 22-nanometer TriGate process. And now Altera has done some fast …
Only the paranoid survive
> Altera and said that the other major suppliers of FPGAs – that is mainly Xilinx – would not be given access to Chipzilla's fabs
I suppose someone's soul or possibly IP portfolio must have been put on the table in this kind of deal.
It's a strange one. As far as I know Intel has never gone out and actively looked for subcontract deals, so you could be right. Also Altera have fallen quite a bit behind Xilinx in both performance and the roll out of new geometries.
FPGAs are the easiest chips to manufacture after memory as they tend to be a repetative pattern. Often foundries use FPGAs as the proving technologies for new geometries because of it.
That probably partly explains why Tri-gate disappeared off the Itanium roadmap - Intel sold the fab space.